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Valley Power Plant

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Valley Power Plant is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Wisconsin Energy in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The plant is one of 100 coal plants near residential areas. There are 209,421 people within a 3-mile radius of the plant, and 23,750 people within a 1-mile radius. The average per capita income of the population living within a 3-mile radius is $12,852, compared with an average capita income of $21,587 for the United States (year 2000 data). Within a 3-mile radius of the plant, 66.0% of the population is non-white.[1]

In early May 2011, We Energies announced that it planned to take the initial steps toward converting the Valley Power Plant to natural gas from coal.

In March 2011, Clean Wisconsin and Sierra Club filed petitions with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, contending that the Valley Power Plant's air permit, issued by the DNR, violates the Clean Air Act.[2]

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Plant Data

  • Owner: Wisconsin Electric Power Company
  • Parent Company: Wisconsin Energy
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 272 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: 136 MW (1968), 136 MW (1969)
  • Location: 1035 West Canal St., Milwaukee, WI 53233
  • GPS Coordinates: 43.03138, -87.924247
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source:
  • Number of Employees:

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 1,889,394 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions:
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions:
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions:

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Valley Power Plant

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[3] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[4]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from the Valley Power Plant

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 26 $190,000,000
Heart attacks 42 $4,700,000
Asthma attacks 450 $23,000
Hospital admissions 19 $450,000
Chronic bronchitis 16 $7,300,000
Asthma ER visits 28 $10,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011

2011 Report: Valley Power top environmental justice offender

The 2011 report, "Coal Blooded: Putting Profits Before People in Illinois" by Adrian Wilson, NAACP, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO), and the Indigenous Environmental Network used an algorithm combining levels of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions together with demographic factors in order to calculate an environmental justice score for the 431 coal-fired power plants in the U.S. Twelve plants were ranked the top environmental justice offenders, producing a total of 48,582 Gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity in 2005 — only 1.2% of total U.S. electricity production, yet affecting a total of 1.78 million Americans who live within 3 miles of one of the 12 plants, with an average per capita income of $14,626 (compared with the U.S. average of $21,587), and 76.3% people of color.

The plants were:

  1. Crawford Generating Station, Chicago, IL (Edison International)
  2. Hudson Generating Station, Jersey City, NJ (PSEG)
  3. Fisk Generating Station, Chicago, IL (Edison International)
  4. Valley Power Plant, Milwaukee, WI (Wisconsin Energy)
  5. State Line Plant, Hammond, IN (Dominion)
  6. Lake Shore Plant, Cleveland, OH (FirstEnergy)
  7. Gallagher Generating Station, New Albany, IN (Duke Energy)
  8. Bridgeport Harbor Station, Bridgeport, CT (PSEG)
  9. River Rouge Power Plant, River Rouge, MI (DTE Energy)
  10. Cherokee Station, Commerce City, CO (Xcel Energy)
  11. Four Corners Steam Plant, Niinahnízaad, NM (Arizona Public Service Company)
  12. Waukegan Generating Station, Waukegan, IL (Edison International)

Citizen activism

NAACP Clearing the Air Road Tour

Thomas White, President of the NAACP of Wisconsin on air pollution in Milwaukee, WI. Part One.

In April 2010, Jacqui Patterson of the NAACP Climate Justice interviewed community members in Milwaukee. Jacqui wrote the following account of the impacts of the Valley Power Plant:[5]

The Valley Power Plant is located on the Menomonee River about a mile southwest of downtown Milwaukee. It is wedged between the predominantly African-American Avenues West neighborhood to the north, and the predominantly Latino neighborhood of Walker’s Point to the south. Over 24,000 people live within a mile of the plant, and both the Aurora Sinai hospital and Marquette University campus are less than a mile away.
Mr. Thomas White, State Conference President for the NAACP spoke with me about the hazards of the plant to the surrounding communities, described the communities a bit, and then took me on a driving tour of the nearby areas.

Citizen Groups

Articles and Resources

Sources

  1. FreeDemographics Beta database, SRC website, accessed April 2009. For additional notes on the demographic data, see Coal plants near residential areas
  2. "We Energies Indicates Move Toward Natural Gas at Valley Power Plant" Clean Wisconsin Press Release, May 5, 2011.
  3. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  4. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  5. Jacqui Patterson, "Day VII Clearing the Air Road Tour — Milwaukee, WI — Valley Power Plant," NAACP Climate Justice Initiative, April 21, 2010.

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External Sources